This wooden “trunk” controls water flow to and from the old rice field pond seen here and the tidal Ashley River, just at my back as I took this image. A variety of wading birds have become accustomed to stopping by; when the water is flowing through the trunk the fishing can be pretty easy on the low side.
A Great Blue Heron Twisted up like a pretzel while preening,
A Little Blue Heron was inspecting the shore line just after sunrise; he was just plodding along slowly.
The drying grasses behind him caught the early golden light beautifully.
With the Great Blue Heron gone from the tree the Great Egret and Roseate Spoonbill settled into their morning preening.
The tide was in on the swamp side of the Wildlife Management Area and the water was high in the non-tidal ponds so they didn’t have many options in the immediate area for feeding. Sunning and preening would have to do.
And the Great Blue Heron wanted the tree to himself.
The Great Egret and the Roseate Spoonbill ignored him, even when he made a flying leap over their heads.
The GBH made some aggressive moves towards the other two and they just rearranged themselves and went about their preening business.
The sun had just come up and the sky’s color reflected in this pond was quite blue. A Great Blue Heron that had been wading in the corner of the pond made an elegant low flight to the other side.
The heron didn’t seem happy and squawked the entire way, perhaps aware of the Bald Eagle in the tree above his starting point.
After the flying shrimp incident the Great Blue Heron decided it was time to move on. Usually the herons will bend their knees just before lifting off giving the photographer a hint of imminent action and this turned out to be the case.
One strong beat of his wings and he was on his way.
He disappeared down the canal with a big squawk, staying close to the water.
Click on any image for larger view.
The last month has been really slow for seeing wading birds of any kind around Charleston. There is a lot of talk that Hurricane Florence disturbed the bird migration and who knows when we might see an influx.
With not much else happening, we took a walk around the dike at Magnolia Plantation yesterday. Always attractive, this single Great Blue Heron held my attention for quite awhile, preening, looking around, and even fluffed his head feathers up.
He should have been paying more attention to the water. I took the photos to get some action, but didn’t know what was afoot. A good sized shrimp had jumped out of the water as high as the platform the bird was standing on. I, not surprisingly, didn’t see the shrimp until I was processing these photos.
The shrimp managed to flip himself to the right as the heron stabbed straight down.
Score one for the shrimp and zero for the bewildered Great Blue.
This juvenile Little Blue Heron was on his own, just hanging around on a dead tree trunk. There was a small group at the other end of the big pond but most of his siblings and cousins have moved on. There are no adult Little Blues around the swamp either.
Birds with nothing else to do default to preening, and this fellow was no different.
Check your toes.
Then under your wings.
With Storm Florence now well to the north I was able to return to one of my favorite birding spots this afternoon. The sun was in and out with puffy white clouds filling the sky.
This Great Egret had found a shallow spot to hunt, although this wasn’t looking like a great fishing hole as he kept coming up with nothing.
He did create some nice reflections for me, albeit in dirty looking water that was still churned up from Flo’s rain and wind.
My heart goes out to those in North Carolina who will be weeks, months, and probably more putting their lives back together after storm Florence’s record rain fall.